Tag Archive: aliens


To get us properly excited in anticipation of the new season in autumn, the BBC has released the (non-teaser) trailer for series 7 of Doctor Who.  That is all.

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Mauro Colagreco, Bob Noto photography

Not pureed asteroid parasite - sea urchin with saffron, coriander and parsley foam.

Sometimes I hanker for sci-fi food – which, I admit, doesn’t make any kind of sense.  I want something so strange, peculiar and out there, that it just couldn’t come from our planet or time!  However, searching for sci-fi food will get you half a million results for gagh, scores of cocktail recipes for pan galactic gargle blasters, and a handful of very well thought out methods for making problematic ice planet desserts.  All well and good – but not alien enough for me – I don’t want the food of an existing franchise, but something odd in and of itself.

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Improviso B-Movie style poster from the GAMBIT MIT Lab

B-Movie Style Poster for Improviso - The Improvisational Research-Game

I have less than the recommended human quantity of fear – it’s a peculiar thing, but there it is – but what it means is that while other people are getting rightfully terrified about the inevitable AI uprising, I’m more fascinated than scared.  So imagine my excitement when I find that I can play B-Movie improvisational acting games FOR SCIENCE!

You play as either the Director or the Lead Actor (as Ted the Reporter) in a three act, alien invasion, B-Movie.  The scene is set with Ted tied up in the crashed alien spaceship, and Agent Smith has discovered him – beyond that, it’s up to the two players to ham it up as much as possible, and get their finest cheesy sci-fi movie cliches dusted off and used.

The GAMBIT Lab at MIT and MDA record these little works of art, and use them to educate their AI systems to better be able to play the individual characters – and while teaching an AI to properly overact doesn’t seem particularly helpful, it’s all baby steps on the road to creating artificial intelligence that can emulate human behavior in a constrained but unpredictable situations.

So what are you waiting for?  Download Improviso, fire up the tutorial, and start overacting!

(Seen at H+ Magazine.)

Wait!  Turn HD on.  Yes, that’s right.  Wait for it to stream, turn the volume up a little and bask in the first full trailer for the next Doctor Who season.  Scary clowns, masked children, astronaut helmets, explosions and pirate ships, ghosts, monsters and one solitary, dangerous, deadly, gun.

“Look how cool this stuff is!”

Roll on Easter, and the start of the new season.  Roll it on indeed.